This Teenager's App Connects Unemployed Migrants With Employers
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All of us witnessed the hardship of migrant laborers during the country-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus. Various individuals and organizations, apart from the government, did try to help these migrants—the backbone of the economy to a large extent—by offering food and shelter, as much possible though not enough.
It was during this period, Akshat Mittal— a 17-year-old commerce graduate from Amity International School and a Noida resident— came to know that his 80-year-old grandfather’s driver decided to quit his job and return to his hometown in Bihar. Moved by the situation of rising unemployment and financial distress, he wanted to launch a service through which blue-collar workers would come out stronger post the pandemic. This is when he launched bharatshramik.in, a service to get the unemployed migrant laborers back to work.
“I was touched by the news of migrant workers starving and dying due to hunger. While there are jobs on the one hand and unemployed workers on the other, there is no mechanism to tie them together. Bharat Shramik is trying to do that,” says Mittal.
What sprouted as an honest reaction to the current crisis in the country is taking a solid shape.
“I thought of this idea on June 8, registered the domain name on June 9 and the website went live on June 20, 2020,” mentioned Mittal.
With the help from his father, Ashish Mittal, founder TurningIdeas Ventures; chief mentor, Ashish Agrawal, founder Wesense; and with his closed team of Atipriya Dev Sinha, Madhav Mohan and Anish Malhotra for website outreach, the teenager was able to execute his idea.
Once his website was ready, he partnered with Knowlarity, a communication solutions provider, to power his helpline and Innovation Incubator as the technological collaborator.
This is how it works. Migrants would have to enter their details such as the PIN code of the area where they are looking for job, name and contact details. Mittal explains that since most of the workers lack access to smartphones or the Internet, he has set up a multi-lingual helpline number (+91 8822022022). A service provider will set up its account after taking down essential information. Employers who have lost a chunk of their workforce can also register on the website.
“On the website, employers are restricted to 20 random results of the workforce they can hire. This is done to protect data theft. If a company desires to hire in large numbers, we request them to email us at email@example.com, so that we can help them with their requirements,” says Mittal.
According to him, this platform will help remap skills as over 23,000 workers and 400 employers are already registered with the portal. Many new categories with more comprehensible and employable data will be added soon, not only for blue-collar workers but for white-collar employees as well. He has collaborated with many NGOs and labor unions which already have data of migrant workers mapped.
For Mittal, this endeavor is not baptism by fire as he already had his first brush with the entrepreneurship world. In 2016, when Delhi introduced the odd-even method to curb pollution, Mittal developed a carpooling app which could help commuters.
Mittal has created this massive prospect in building a network of civil society to highlight the plight of migrant laborers that existed even before the pandemic and starting something new that is just a sliver of the full scope.
“Considering the potential that Bharat Shramik has, in the next 4-5 months, it can be really big. We are gearing up for around 2 million workers in the next quarter and around 30,000 are placed,” said Mittal. He mentioned many are volunteering for this social cause. “That is the kind of enthusiasm with which we have started to build and that is the kind of moral values, conduct and approach we want to reflect as well through Bharat Shramik among people,” he added.